journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Going Back on Medication & OCD

After 13 months of no medication and managing a range of conditions by myself, I realised I could no longer manage without some sort of intervention. I went to my doctor yesterday to discuss my anxiety and any new relevant information. She decided (based on my medical history and on new symptoms) that Prozac would be the best option for me.

Prozac is a SSRI antidepressant that positively affects communication between nerve cells in the central nervous system and restores chemical balances within the brain. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and some anxiety conditions. Prozac is a strong medication and can cause more severe side effects compared to other medication. Common Prozac side effects may include sleep problems, dreams, headaches, dizziness, shaking, feeling anxious, weakness, tiredness, loss of appetite and weight loss, sweating or hot flashes, flu symptoms, nausea and tremors.

I know a lot of people have negative views on the use of medication for the treatment of mental health problems; especially when a comes to a drug as strong as Prozac. For 13 months I have pondered these views myself and believe that using medication is in my best interest. You would not rob an asthmatic of their inhaler or a diabetic of their insulin; why rob a sufferer of mental health their medication if it is needed?

Whilst at the doctors, some symptoms of OCD were picked up and then diagnosed, which I think is one of the core reasons I was put on this drug compared to other psychiatric medication.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Most people with OCD will have obsessions or compulsions. An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease. A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to carry out to try to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.

PROZAC

I’ll now be under review continuously for medication and checks on my mental health and there’s no guarantee that this will improve my mental health. However, medication is not a magic pill or an instant cure; it just makes things more manageable and helps sort out brain imbalances.

I will keep you guys updated on everything and hope that the next few months will be positive.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Update: 3 Months Without Meds

As most of you know, in January I made the difficult decision to stop ALL mental health medication. This means no medication, whatsoever. No mental health medication. No anti depressives, no anti psychotics, no sedatives, no mood stabilisers, no sleeping pills, etc. None. These types of psychiatric drugs should be withdrawn slowly to prevent regression, relapse and withdrawal symptoms. My decision to come off them was swift and within 2 days I went from being on medication to absolutely nothing (I don’t recommend this, not the best idea if I say so myself).

Now, there is a lot of speculation on whether psychiatric drugs are effective, safe and addictive. Sure, all psychiatric medication could cause withdrawal reactions. Psychiatric drugs can cause a wide range of symptoms when taking the drug. When first being taken off this medication, the person can feel markedly worse. This is due to a withdrawal reaction. I personally think that all medication works differently for everybody. Some people may get withdrawal symptoms, some may not. One drug may work for someone else but not for me or vice versa.

It’s been a struggle. A roller-coaster, even. Month 1, as I stated before, was horrendous. It was a month of adjustment, a month of no longer setting alarms to take meds, a month of feeling absolutely horrendous. Within days of being off medication my mood became vulnerable. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours increased, I was irritable, constantly crying and my anxiety always sat in my stomach. However, coming off the medication gave me more energy. Psychiatric drugs have been noted to cause drowsiness and increased fatigue and when I came off medication I felt so much more energised. I was actually able to sit on the sofa without falling asleep. I was able to leave the house without being overwhelmingly filled with tiredness.

Month 2 and 3 have been a blur. My memory, on the best of days, is awful, so trying to remember the adjustment of each month is beyond my comprehension. It hasn’t been easy, that much I can assure. Why would it be easy? Coming off medication does not mean that your illnesses are gone, it means that you are no longer controlling them by medication. When I was on medication, I was so set in believing that it wasn’t working. I was still feeling suicidal and down on medication but it wasn’t until I came off it that I noticed how much it actually worked. Medication doesn’t take your mental illnesses away. How awesome would medication be if it did that. If medication took your mental illnesses away, I’ve realised, it would also take your personality, your ability to wake up and breathe everyday. It would take you. Medication numbs your mental illnesses to the point where you can function. That’s how I explain it.

It’s been 3 months of balancing my mood, my anxieties and my pain all whilst trying to live and succeed at university. After month 3, I can honestly say that being off medication will not likely be a permanent thing and someday in the near future it will introduce itself to me again. What I can also say is that medication is not the answer to everything and even if I feel like I can no longer go on, God blesses me with a new day every time I open my eyes, and for that I’m always thankful.

 Please do your research before stopping any psychiatric medications. If you feel ready, organise an appointment or two to thoroughly discuss your options with your doctor. If you feel like you need medication for your mental health disorders, please do not be afraid to discuss this with your doctor  also- they will listen to your views and come up with a plan. Medication is not for everyone but some people need it to function, and that’s perfectly fine.

Be safe, I love you.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

8 things not to say to someone with mental illness

The 8 things below have been said to me during my battle with mental illness. I’d love to hear the things people have said to you that they shouldn’t have said in regards to your illness!

1. “You have everything going for you. You have people who love you, you’re going to university, you have an amazing family…etc.” Although I appreciate that I’ve gotten into university, that I have people who love me and amazing family…I still have a mental illness. Although I may have ‘everything going for me’ I don’t feel as though I do. I did not decide to have these thoughts or behaviours so please don’t talk as though I can change so easy.

2. “I don’t really think you should be taking your medication, you’ve been on it a while. Maybe you should cut it down or stop it altogether.” My medication allows me to function. If I didn’t take my medication, I’d have panic attacks every single day, even just getting out of bed. At the moment, I do not feel better with a decreased amount of medication. It is not addicting, so please don’t worry.

3. “You can’t be like this forever. You’ll have to get a job, get married, and have a family. How do you expect to get friends or a boyfriend like this?” Many of my mental illnesses have been with me since I was a small child and I’m sure they’re not going to budge any time soon. I don’t know how long my mental illnesses will last, but they will never go away. Someday I may enter recovery, but I will still have mental illness.

4. “You’re just attention seeking.” Trust me; if I could choose not to be mentally ill I would! I didn’t choose this for myself. No way in hell would I want to suffer with deliberating anxiety and depression everyday, with panic attacks and thoughts of self-harm and suicide. I wouldn’t be starving and exercising if I truly loved my body.

5. “You’re not the only one.” I’m aware that around 450 million people in the world suffer with some sort of mental health condition, that doesn’t make it any easier for me. Although I feel for these people and know what they are going through, I cannot get better simply because others suffer too.

6. “Some people have mental illness worse.” I am so aware that people have mental illness worse. I know I am lucky to not suffer from debilitating hallucinations and voices 24 hours a day, but everyone with mental illness struggles, whether it be because of Anxiety or Schizophrenia.

7. “Don’t you want to get better?” Of course I don’t want to be this way forever but it has been the only way that I know. Mental illnesses has become a safety blanket which makes it difficult to imagine a life without it.

8. “Everyone feels the same way sometimes.” Although everyone experiences a range of emotions, not everyone has a mental illness. Everyone gets sad, but not everyone experiences the hopeless pit of despair that comes with Depression.  Being anxious for the dentist is not the same as having a panic attack.

anxiety